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Daily Bible Devotion-Are You Using God or is God Using You?

are you using god or is god using you

DAILY BIBLE DEVOTION

Matthew 10

Amplified Bible (AMP)

10 And Jesus summoned to Him His twelve disciples and gave them power and authority over unclean spirits, to drive them out, and to cure all kinds of disease and all kinds of weakness and infirmity.

2 Now these are the names of the twelve apostles (special messengers): first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James son of Zebedee, and John his brother;

3 Philip and Bartholomew [Nathaniel]; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus [Judas, not Iscariot];

4 Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.

5 Jesus sent out these twelve, charging them, Go nowhere among the Gentiles and do not go into any town of the Samaritans;

6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

7 And as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand!

8 Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Freely (without pay) you have received, freely (without charge) give.

9 Take no gold nor silver nor [even] copper money in your purses (belts);

10 And do not take a provision bag or a [a]wallet for a collection bag for your journey, nor two undergarments, nor sandals, nor a staff; for the workman deserves his support (his living, his food).

11 And into whatever town or village you go, inquire who in it is deserving, and stay there [at his house] until you leave [that vicinity].

12 As you go into the house, give your greetings and wish it well.

13 Then if indeed that house is deserving, let come upon it your peace [that is, [b]freedom from all the distresses that are experienced as the result of sin]. But if it is not deserving, let your peace return to you.

14 And whoever will not receive and accept and welcome you nor listen to your message, as you leave that house or town, shake the dust [of it] from your feet.

15 Truly I tell you, it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.

16 Behold, I am sending you out like sheep in the midst of wolves; be [c]wary and wise as serpents, and be innocent (harmless, guileless, and [d]without falsity) as doves.

Many years ago, I went to hear a speaker in Houston, Texas.  This lady was at a very large church and she was very well-known.  She had a regular program on the Gospel stations and she was very dynamic in her delivery.  There did seem to be answers to prayers and miracles in her meetings. 

I didn’t know she was coming to Houston, but a friend of mine wanted to see her and asked me to go with her.  I really didn’t have a good feeling about going, but I went with her anyway because it was a drive and it was at night. 

The praise and worship team opened the service and in grand style this lady was introduced to the audience.  She just seemed to own that platform from the moment she got up there!  I had listened to her in her early days and this lady really seemed to be sincere, loving and very caring for wounded people in the body of Christ.   As I listened, and oddly I cannot remember what she taught on, I noticed unnatural wide sweeping gestures, tones of voice that are used when people are trying to sell something, and I really fussed at myself for thinking like that!  I gave myself a good “dressing down” and still I could not shake the images and thoughts, nor did I feel guilty for having them.  In fact, I knew God was revealing some things to me.

She talked about how her time in the United States was coming to an end and God was moving her and her ministry to Europe.  She talked about how she needed money to get there.  She said God was not going to keep her in the United States and this would be some of the last days she would  ever live state side.  She told us how desperately Europe needed Jesus and it would be a lifelong committment on her part.    God spoke to me as I reached for my checkbook to wait.  He said, “She is not leaving the United States and she has no intention of living in Europe.  You may not give tonight.”  God has never told me not to give!  My husband and I have always supported missionaries and ministries that send missionaries to other countries to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  We don’t think twice about writing a check, or digging into our pocketbooks to give all we have if God speaks that to us. 

She had the elders of this church count the money on the platform right in front of her as she continued to stress if we didn’t dig deep then God’s will may not be accomplished.  She told us she needed a certain amount to go.  That amount did not come in.  Suddenly, she said, “God says if you are dealing with an area you need a breakthrough in and have not been able to obtain that breakthrough, if you will write a check or give a cash offering of one-thousand dollars or more, you will receive your miracle within 24 hours!”  My jaw dropped and I thought, “Surely no one is going to fall for that!”  But they did!  People began to clamor for their checkbooks and wallets.  Checks were being written and torn out, and I am sure it was music to her ears!  I asked God, “Father, what is wrong with this?  Am I having the worst attitude in my history of life or is something really wrong with this?”  I always weigh things with the Word when I feel something is off, but I have to ask the Holy Spirit to show me so I don’t misinterpret something myself! 

Jesus spoke to me and said, “Remember when I told the disciples to go forth and take no provision with them?  They were to speak peace to a household and if they received them with peace they could stay and they would be provided for as they proclaimed the Gospel?  If they weren’t received they were to walk on, but they were to ask for NO money.  No one charged them for salvation, healing or deliverance.  It was obtained by faith in Me and My words.”

God had spoken this scripture to me before.  I was a speaker for many years and NEVER did I take an offering or tell the people if they didn’t pay me a certain amount I wouldn’t be able to continue in the ministry!  I didn’t DARE!!  I knew if God was in it, His provision and blessing would be, too.  I don’t think there is one thing wrong with a pastor taking up an offering for a missionary or an evangelist.  They have to eat just like we do.  But, I see a great deal wrong with people who exaggerate their need and take advantage of God’s children!  I see a great deal wrong with people who tell other’s they can BUY A MIRACLE!  Not only is this not Biblical, it is dangerous to use God and p0rtray Him in such a manner!  Everything you need is bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus!  Our debts are marked in red and they say,  PAID IN FULL!

Did this woman ever leave the United States?  No!  She is still here and that was over ten years ago!  Did my friend that paid the thousand dollars get her forever breakthrough?  Sadly, no.  Why?  Because she was putting her faith in this speaker’s words and not God’s.  She was already free!  Whom the Son has set free is free indeed!  Her miracle had been paid for 2, 000 years ago with the blood of Jesus Christ.  She was trying to “buy” what Jesus already bought for her!

Unfortunately, we see this all too much.  We see people using God as an excuse to promote our agendas.  If THEY are well-known, THEIR books are bestsellers, THEIR name is known, then they can proclaim God in a more successful way THEY say!  God has carried Christianity this whole time without OUR fame and fortune and believe me, He will have no trouble carrying it without us!  Make sure the ministry is about the right person.  Make sure it isn’t about us and our agenda and reputation, but God’s agenda and reputation! 

How do we know when it has become about us instead of about HIM?  Ask yourself these questions…

1.  Am I more concerned with numbers instead of people?

2.  Do I get excited when my name is mentioned or when the work God has called me to is promoted?

3.  Do I brag when certain things are  happening to ME, or do I give God glory because what has happened is furthering the Kingdom?

4.  Am I jealous when others experience “success” I don’t seem to be experiencing?

5.  Do I only contact my “friends” when I can brag or because I truly take a concern in them?

6.  Do I compare my ministry calling, gifting, talents and abilities to someone else’s and think mine is more important and of greater value?

7.  Do I try to make others look less and what they are doing for God than what I am doing?

8.  Do I promote other ministries, or do I  expect others to promote my own because I am the only one who “really knows the truth”, therefore I  and my church should be followed?

9.  Do I talk speak critically of other ministers, authors, or people?  Do I try to make sure everyone knows I am more rooted than others and they should stay away from certain ones, because they just don’t get it like I do?

Keep your name from being sullied by gossip (your own) and the ministry from having the appearance of being  laced with greed.  More than anything  keep your motives pure and your focus God centered!  Don’t use God for YOUR platform instead of the platform of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  If we don’t,  God will humble us and we all know it is better to do that ourselves!  It is much less painful and much more peaceful to keep our attitude in the right place.  No one wants to be “sat down” by God, but because of His great love for us, He will do it if we force Him to.

Stay humble, precious reader.  Stay God focused and love others with an undaunting, everlasting love such as our Father has showered upon us!  I will see you soon!  Simply,  Juliana

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Daily Bible Devotions-What is the Problem With the Phrase “OMG”?

don't say omg

DAILY BIBLE DEVOTIONS

Exodus 20:7

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

7 Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God, because the Lord will not leave anyone unpunished who misuses His name.

It was November and my son was flying into Houston from Tulsa, Oklahoma for Thanksgiving.  I had not seen him since September and I was ecstatic he was home.  He had been in Bible College for about four months. 

As he sat in the backseat he began to tell us all about the school and all the powerful things he was learning.  He loved it and was just gushing with the anointing.  One of the things he said was,  he found himself becoming more aware of  things he had not really thought about before.  He had been in the presence of the Lord in prayer in study almost continually and it was showing!  He told us, “I cannot stand for people to say, ‘OH MY GOD’ or for them to even say the letters ‘OMG’.  I hate that phrase!  I have heard some people at school saying it and we are here to be ministers!  If ministers cannot even keep the commandment to not take the Lord’s name in vain, how will they deal  with and be an example in deeper things?”

I have to agree with my son, but more importantly the Bible!  We are to be examples and living epistles of the Bible.  We don’t just read it, we DO it!  I have seen and heard this “saying” EVERYWHERE!  It is said by our youth as a habit.  I don’t think they even realize they are saying it and that they are sinning when they do!  It is all over Hollywood, as though it was nothing but a byline of some sort.  You hear it in movies, interviews, casual conversation, and sadly, out of our own children’s mouths!

God…the name above all names, our Father, the one Who gave the most precious thing He had in all of heaven to be tortured and murdered so that He could have relationship with us!  God is not part of a slang phrase, and His name should be treated with the respect it so deserves!  When He tells us THOU SHALL NOT, that doesn’t mean if you feel like it you can, if the rest of the world is doing it and it is popular, then you are allowed.  THOU SHALL NOT means YOU DON’T! 

The only time we should say God’s name is in prayer and worship!  As Christians the Bible says we ‘are a peculiar people’.  It doesn’t mean we are weird, but to the world we are different because we should be different than the rest of the world!  The world doesn’t think about God’s name being holy.  The world has not been redeemed from the curse of sin.  They give “knee jerk” reactions and think it is justified, therefore it is okay.  Whatever they feel they do, without much thought.  We are redeemed by the Word, and the blood of Jesus.  Our thoughts, actions, and living should correspond with the Bible, which tells us we are the salt and light of the world for Jesus. 

The Bible tells us to watch our words.  Whether bitter or sweet, right or wrong, we will eat the fruit of our lips.  It tells us we will give an account of EVERY idle word.  Idle in the Greek means, ‘of no purpose or use’.  Have you ever heard the phrase ‘Loose lips, sink ships’?  Are you poking holes in your testimony, and even your future so that you are sinking instead of living a higher life God has called you to?  What harvest do you want to see in the years to come?  Blessing or failure?  Of course, we all pick the blessing, but the blessing comes with certain actions on our part.  One of those actions is OBEDIENCE TO GOD’S WORD!  If we can’t be faithful to God in such a small thing, how can He ever trust us with bigger things. 

It is the ‘little foxes that eat the vine’.  The Vine is Jesus and we are the branches.  If we are not connected to Jesus as we should be, we wither and fail to thrive.  To become disconnected through sin is to not be able to flow in the anointing and wisdom of God as we should.  It opens a door to the enemy to come in and wreak havoc in our lives.   We cannot blame God for this, when WE are the ones that allowed it by being disobedient and reckless with things we should have obeyed and taken seriously! 

If this is a phrase you have gotten into the habit of saying, think about what you are doing and how disrespectful it really is.  Ask God to forgive you and watch and be mindful of your words.  He loved us enough to give ALL to us, let us love Him enough to respect His name and remember His name is holy!

Blessings to you, dear reader!  I will see you soon!  Juliana

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BREAKING NEWS-Judge rules for cheerleaders in Bible banner suit

BREAKING NEWS

HOUSTON (AP) — A judge ruled Wednesday that cheerleaders at a Southeast Texas high school can display banners emblazoned with Bible verses at football games.

But the ruling might not have settled the issue of whether the banners are protected free speech, according to an attorney for the cheerleaders’ school district.

State District Judge Steven Thomas determined the Kountze High School cheerleaders’ banners are constitutionally permissible. In the ruling, Thomas determined that no law “prohibits cheerleaders from using religious-themed banners at school sporting events.”

The Kountze school district had initially said the banners could not be displayed after receiving a complaint about them in September from the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The foundation argued the banners violated the so-called First Amendment Establishment Clause that bars government — or publicly funded school districts in this case — from establishing or endorsing a religion.

Thomas ruled that the establishment clause does not prohibit the use of such religious-themed banners at school sporting events.

“This is a great victory for the cheerleaders and now they’re going to be able to have their banners,” said Hiram Sasser, a lead attorney for the Liberty Institute, a Plano, Texas-based nonprofit law firm that represented the cheerleaders.

But Thomas Brandt, the school district’s attorney, argued that Judge Thomas also granted a school district motion in his ruling that says the district can permit the banners under the establishment clause but is not required to do so. Brandt said the motion also says the banners are the speech of the school, not private speech, so the school has a right to have editorial control of the banners.

Initially, the school district ruled the banners could not be displayed. But after a public meeting in February, the school board of trustees issued a resolution in which it wrote that the district was not required to prohibit messages on school banners that displayed “fleeting expressions of community sentiment solely because the source or origin of such messages is religious.” But the trustees said the district retained the right to restrict the content of school banners.

Brandt said while he has yet to talk to the school district about whether or not it will appeal, it may seek some clarification from the judge on his ruling.

But Sasser said there is no ambiguity in the ruling and that the banners are the cheerleaders’ protected private speech.

“We won and they didn’t,” he said, adding that he expects the school district to appeal.

The dispute began during the last football season when the district barred cheerleaders from using run-through banners that displayed religious messages, such as “If God is for us, who can be against us.”

In October, Thomas temporarily allowed the cheerleaders to continue displaying the banners pending the lawsuit’s outcome. Thomas at the time said the school district’s ban on the practice appeared to violate the students’ free speech rights. The Liberty Institute had argued the banners’ messages were not asking anyone to believe in Christianity or accept the faith.

The cheerleaders in Kountze, located about 95 miles northeast of Houston, were supported by various state officials, including Gov. Rick Perry and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who filed court papers seeking to intervene on their behalf. A Facebook group created after the ban, Support Kountze Kids Faith, has more than 45,000 members.

Abbott praised the court’s ruling on Wednesday, calling it a “victory for religious liberties.”

Perry in a statement said the cheerleaders “showed great resolve and maturity beyond their years in standing up for their beliefs and constitutional rights.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation’s co-president, Annie Laurie Gaylor, was disappointed with the ruling, saying the banners “carry the appearance of school endorsement and favoritism, turning Christians into insiders and non-Christians and nonbelievers into outsiders.”

The Anti-Defamation League also criticized the ruling, calling it “misguided” and saying it “flies in the face of clear U.S. Supreme Court and other rulings.”

Attorneys for the Kountze school district, in initially advising the superintendent to ban the religious statements on the cheerleaders’ banners, argued there have been several precedent-setting rulings by the Supreme Court.

In one of the more well-known cases, the court ruled in 2000 that a practice of allowing student-led prayer ahead of high school football games in Texas’ Santa Fe Independent School District violated the Constitution. In 1992, the Supreme Court made a similar ruling in a Rhode Island case that argued a rabbi’s prayer at a middle school graduation ceremony also violated the Constitution.

yahoo.com


Praise Report!!

President Bush and barbara

HOUSTON (AP) — Former President George H.W. Bush‘s condition continued to improve Saturday, prompting doctors to move him out of intensive care, a spokesman said.

President Bush’s condition has improved, so he has been moved today from the intensive care unit to a regular patient room at The Methodist Hospital to continue his recovery,” family spokesman Jim McGrath said Saturday. “The Bushes thank everyone for their prayers and good wishes.”  Source:  Associated Press

Praising God!  He will do it for you, too!!


A Beautiful Day With My Beautiful Mother!

a beautiful day

Today was a great day!  My mother had to drive to Houston to pick up my niece for Christmas shopping tomorrow.  She called me and told me about it and told me that she wanted to shop at Sam Moon (a fantastic bling store with great prices!!).  That was all it took.  I was in.  It is about two hours there and, naturally, two hours home.

We shopped great deals, got gifts, stocking stuffers and I swore to Mother God had to have a  Sam Moon in heaven and we were definitely getting a taste of it!!  Most of my heaven though is the fact I had my mother all day, all to myself!   We talked, laughed, and talked about the great things God is doing in our churches.  But the best part was, I had Momma all to myself!

This is the same one who almost died 3 months ago, the same one who was in total heart failure, the same one the doctor said it would be a miracle if she lived!  Yes, that one!!  We walked every inch of that store and it is thousands of square feet!  We looked at every earring, every bracelet, every ring, every necklace that place had.  My mother never missed a step!!  She actually drove, too!  Did I mention we did all this after she drove us to her beauty shop and she got her hair done?

We went and got my niece and had a wonderful Texas barbecue dinner and headed home.  We never stopped talking going or coming home!  This was one of the best days of my life!!  God gave me something no amount of money can afford…time with one of the people I love more than anything or anyone in the world.  Today, God gave me a beautiful day with my beautiful mom!

Goodnight, precious reader!  I hope you had a beautiful day, too!


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